Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Radio Personality Jerry Blavat Kicks Off the New Year with Sounds Spectacular Reunion at the Kimmel Center

JANUARY 3, 2011

Featuring special guests Darlene Love, Freda Payne, The Duprees, Kenny Vance and the Planotones, and The Platters


Jerry Blavat, Philadelphia's DJ Godfather of soul, doo-wop and rock and roll, returns to the Kimmel Center with his Sounds Spectacular Reunion on Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 8pm in Verizon Hall. Joined by an all-star line-up of performers, the "Geator with the Heater" takes a walk down memory lane to the good ol' daysback to when rock was young and soul was just hitting the scene.


Blavat's guests will perform jukebox classics from the 50s, 60s and 70s, including: Darlene Love, named one of Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time;" Freda Payne, the songstress behind the hit "Band of Gold;" The Duprees, renowned for mixing doo-wop vocals with big band arrangements in hits like "You Belong to Me;" and Kenny Vance and the Planotones with their signature revival ballad "Looking for an Echo." The Platters, best known for "The Great Pretender," will showcase a special tribute to the legendary Tony Williams,  the band's lead singer at the height of their success.


Free at the Kimmel kicks off at 6pm with free pre-show dance party.  DJ Mark the Spark spins nostalgic tunes in the Commonwealth Plaza prior to and immediately following the Sounds Spectacular Reunion ticketed event in Verizon Hall.

This concert is the first of two Jerry Blavat shows scheduled for the Kimmel Center Presents 2010-2011 season. The second event, Jerry Blavat's Rock & Roll Extravaganza, will take place on May 8, 2011.


Tickets for Jerry Blavat's Sounds Spectacular Reunion range in price from $41 to $81 and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online at, or at the Kimmel Center box office open daily from 10am to 6pm and later on performance evenings. (Additional fees may apply.) For group sales call 215-790-5883.


A cultural icon in Philadelphia, Jerry Blavat is well-known for his electrifying on-air personality and encyclopedic knowledge of music, writers and performers. With more than 45 years of radio experience, South Philadelphia's "Boss with the Hot Sauce" Jerry Blavat was the first DJ to play hits such as "Sherry" by the Four Seasons and "Twist and Shout" by the Isley Brothers on air in the Philadelphia region. Beginning in March 1965, Blavat produced and hosted the "Discophonic Scene" on WCAU-TV 10, featuring only live performances, including The Supremes' only Philadelphia television appearance. In 1967, WIFL-TV 6 offered the Geator a daily show called "Jerry's Place," which was eventually syndicated coast-to-coast in 42 markets. Blavat began hosting "On the Air With the Geator" in 1992 and "Backstage with Jerry Blavat" in 1997. In 1998 he was one of the radio greats inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Since then, Blavat has appeared on the PBS fundraising event "DooWop 50" and "DooWop 51."


Darlene Love began her musical career with "girl group" The Blossoms in 1958, and went on to work with many legends of 1950's and 60's rock and soul, including Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, and Sonny and Cher. Under her own name, Love recorded several chart-topping singles including "Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home" and "(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Going To Marry," as well as two solo albums. Love sang back-up for Dionne Warwick for 10 years beginning in 1971 and later backed Aretha Franklin. During the 1990's, Love performed weekly in Portrait of a Singer, a show based on her career, at New York City's Bottom Line Club. Love was awarded the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award in 1995. She has performed "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on the Late Show with David Letterman annually since 1986.


Freda Payne, a talented singer and actress, moved to New York in 1963 to follow her dreams of musical stardom. After some success on her own, Payne joined famed Invictus record label in 1969. Almost immediately following the release of Payne's first record with Invictus, her single "Band of Gold" became a favorite pop hit, reaching #3 in the US and hitting #1 on the U.K. singles chart and remaining there for six weeks in September 1970. In April 2009, Payne appeared on American Idol to sing her classic hit and in February 2010, she joined vocalists Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson and Barbara Streisand on the "We Are the World: 25 for Haiti" charity single.


The Duprees, renowned for their romantic interpretations of some of the most beautiful love songs ever written, have made a career out of giving new life to old hits. Formed by Michael J. Arnone in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the early 1960's, The Duprees originally consisted of Arnone, John Salvato, Tommy Bialoglow, Joey Canzano and Joey Santollo. The band was discovered by George Paxton, former big band leader, who signed them to his Coed Records, recording the nationwide hit "You Belong To Me" with big band arrangements. The group's other top 40 hits include "My Own True Love," a vocal adaptation of "Tara's Theme" from the soundtrack of Gone with the Wind; "Have You Heard"; and "Why Don't You Believe Me." In 2006, The Duprees were officially inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.


As a kid in New York, Kenny Vance was captivated by the magic of rock and roll. At fifteen he was hanging around the Brill Building meeting other singers and songwriters and eventually formed the successful group Jay and The Americans. They went on to record fifteen albums, tour extensively and open for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for each of their first U.S. performances.  Kenny remained with Jay and The Americans throughout their eleven-year career. In the years that followed, Kenny began an expansive solo career that kicked off with producing the first record for Walter Becker and Donald Fagen - Steely Dan. Kenny Vance went on to compose, supervise and produce a long list of scores and soundtracks for feature films and television, including The Planotones' first on-screen performance in American Hot Wax.  Although originally formed to recreate the musical lives of groups in the 50s and 60s, The Planotones reunited in 1992. Since then, the band has emerged as an influential post doo-wop era ensemble that breathes new life into classic hits with folk and jazz influences. In 2002, Vance was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.


The Platters first came together in the 1950s at the dawn of the first rock and roll era. In fact, ten original Platters tunes made the Billboard's list of the 500 greatest rock and roll hits of all time. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Though it has been 30 years since the last original member left the group, The Platters remain one of the most popular and sought after bands from the time. Its members take great care to assure each new addition carries on the legacy and musical talent that are associated with the original group of talent.


Kimmel Center, Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit organization, owns, manages, supports and maintains The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, Innovation Studio and the Merck Arts Education Center.  Kimmel Center, Inc. also manages the Academy of Music, owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and the University of the Arts' Merriam Theater. Our mission is to operate a world-class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience from throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.


The 2010/2011 season is sponsored by Citi, and the Broadway 2010/2011 season is sponsored by Verizon, and American Airlines.  For additional information, visit

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